Delivering a presentation to the Digital City Expo in Manchester, Mike Blake-Crawford underlined that ‘the appetite for the metaverse is being driven by the pursuit of economic growth’. 

The Chief Strategy Officer at Flight Story was eager to inform the audience that the metaverse isn’t a space we need to move into, but instead is somewhere that we are already living much of our lives. 

Kicking off the presentation, he reflected on a time when Mark Zuckerberg snuck onto the stage whilst a keynote was being delivered in Virtual Reality, as being symbolic in the evolution of the digital space. Nonetheless, he was quick to highlight that Facebook’s adaptation of the metaverse isn’t the metaverse that may well encompass the future of the internet. 

In terms of social platforms that will thrive as a new generation levels up into digital media – Blake-Crawford lauded Discord as being the potential new hub for social activity and digital innovation.

That being said, whilst Discord is mainly prevalent for a younger generation – NFTs and the metaverse have the potential to expand to a far wider scope. 

Blake-Crawford emphasised that although the connection between corporate PLCs and digital art isn’t obvious – they are intertwined by audience engagement as the market cap for NFTs continues to grow at an exponential rate. 

‘The idea we have to go into the metaverse is redundant’, stated Blacke-Crawford as he cited that the metaverse is something that we are already engulfed by. 

It’s something that’s fuelled by the extensive time that is being spent on mobile devices, especially as engagement increased during the pandemic, he highlighted.

Furthermore, the time being spent in the metaverse is also elevated by the continued growth of gaming – something driven by digital fashion and engagement in buying skins, which have grown as the gaming landscape has changed through games like Fortnite and Warzone. 

Looking at Decentraland, the digital real estate that exists in the metaverse, Blake-Crawford then pointed out that with the web in its current form all websites sit across the same real estate, however, in Decentraland a level of exclusivity is formed. 

It comes as stores have already been opened in the space and companies have looked to build their footprint in the metaverse. 

Samsung in particular was highlighted, the firm having already built engagement through numerous initiatives and promotions in the Decentraland platform.

As well as this, the mobile giant is also widely touted to be releasing their new Galaxy phone in the metaverse. 

Samsung sought to take a lead in the space with the launch of their Decentraland experience, something which the firm outlined will be an ever-evolving interior space, designed to ‘deliver forefront metaverse interactions that fuse together pop culture with the spectacular innovations’. 

As well as this, a new metaverse fashion week is due to be hosted in Decentraland, which features some of the key brands from the sector. 

As part of the metaverse fashion week, companies will sell physical products as NFTs, further affirming Blake-Crawford’s point that the desire from consumers for assets is overtaking that of physical products. 

Highlighting where the growth in the metaverse lies, he outlined that ‘human desire for ownership is already driving the metaverse opportunity’, adding that ‘digital fashion and virtual experiences are not dependent on behaviour change – these act upon desire that we already have’. 

As the way we utilise digital media has evolved, he underlined how the power of owning an NFT and being able to signal has also grown, with them being an exclusive community and becoming ‘the new frontier of the web’. 

Twitter’s decision to verify genuine NFTs is something that he feels can be ‘a catalyst in driving their growth and popularity’, as he detailed that the journey is only just beginning.